BQA: A commitment to food safety

Posted: February 13, 2019

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their market cattle. BQA reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry.

When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and bulls are the best they can be. Today, the stakes are even higher because of increased public attention on animal welfare.

BQA is valuable because it:
  • Demonstrates commitment to food safety and quality
  • Safeguards the public image of the dairy industry
  • Upholds consumer confidence in valuable beef products
  • Improves sale value of marketed beef cattle
  • Enhances herd profitability through better management.

Beef Checkoff supported BQA programs bring it all together. While the BQA manual provides a framework for program consistency, the states still determine the best programs for their producers.

“The BQA Manual is the overarching protocol, providing some consistency across the state programs. They are good production practices to guarantee the quality of beef products,” comments Dr. Dee Griffin, DVM.

Nearly every state in the U.S. has an active BQA program. Funding for these efforts ranges from state-derived Beef Checkoff money to national Beef Checkoff support through the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

State BQA programs are voluntary, locally led, and administered through organizations such as state beef councils, land grant universities and state cattle associations. BQA is not a “government” program. BQA links all beef producers with livestock production specialists, veterinarians, nutritionists, marketers and food purveyors interested in maintaining and improving the quality of cattle and the beef they produce.

While state BQA programs chart their own direction, program assistance and national leadership is provided by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

BQA principles are based on good management practices that are standard operating procedures designed to meet the U.S. food production system’s needs.

BQA programming focuses on educating and training cattle producers, farm advisors, and veterinarians on the issues in cattle food safety and quality.

Source: Travis Meeter, University of Illinois Extension Beef Specialist